Miles Franklin School was established as a learning community in 1980. Parents, teachers and students came together to name the school after Miles Franklin, who is most noted for her work 'My Brilliant Career'. A long lasting tradition was set. The current community upholds the tradition of Miles Franklin through the annual whole school celebration of Miles Franklin's birthday and a Kindergarten to Year 6 Brilliant Writers competition. The school was built to serve the growing suburbs of Evatt and McKellar in the 1980s and then under the original plans it was destined to become an aged-care facility in the 1990s. In many respects the look of the school has changed over time: Big Portable was delivered in 1984, the carpark was enlarged in the early 2000s, the hall extended in 2009 along with a new library and what are the Kindergarten classrooms. A COLA (covered outdoor learning area) was built in 2018 and the school will have a fence in place around its perimeter in 2019. However, much of the original architecture is still in place and the ‘feel’ of the school has not changed: we are a community who believes in and supports our school motto of providing ‘educational excellence in a caring environment’.
A significant change which has assisted in providing educational excellence has been the journey of the school in becoming an authorised International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) school. We started with community consultations and decided this was an exciting development and one which would complement our neighbouring high school and college, Melba Copland Secondary School. Melba Copland already ran the IB Diploma programme in 2012 and the two school communities saw the benefit of providing a seamless transition from Preschool to the completion of college through the PYP at Miles Franklin, the MYP (Middle Years Programme) at Melba Copland’s high school campus before completing their studies at Melba Copland’s college campus with the IB Diploma.
The PYP brings many advantages to children. We teach the Australian Curriculum through the lens of six Units of Inquiry from Kindergarten upwards (we teach four in Preschool due to the age of the children and their part-time attendance). Over the course of eight years of schooling we teach 46 Units of Inquiry which are linked horizontally (what the children learn each year) and horizontally (how the learning from previous years links to what they are learning now) into our Programme of Inquiry. Each Unit is conceptual, not thematic, and transdisciplinary which means elements of each subject are taught in each although some units lend themselves more to certain areas of the curriculum over others. These six Units of Inquiry will be found, along with all aspects of the PYP, in all PYP schools around the globe although the content of what is taught will be driven by the local curriculum the children are learning.
These are the six Units of Inquiry:
How The World Works
How We Express Ourselves
How We Organise Ourselves
Sharing The Planet
Where We Are In Place And Time
Who We Are
Each of these transdisciplinary themes have a central idea which frames the inquiry overall and then two or three lines of inquiry which define the specific areas children will be inquiring in to. There are seven ‘Key Concepts’ which support higher order thinking and allow children to understand the knowledge they are learning in a more comprehensive way:
Form (what is it like?); Function (how does it work?); Causation (why is it as it is?); Change (how is it transforming?); Connection (how is it linked to other things?); Perspective (what are the points of view?) and Responsibility (what are our obligations?)
We place a strong emphasis on the Approaches to Learning for children. We aim to build their self-management and communication skills, their ability to think (creatively, critically and reflectively), research effectively and generate strong social skills for lifelong learning. These are seen in the Learner Profile attributes we continually support children to develop. These ten attributes (to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective) are not seen just in the PYP: they are a continuous thread that is woven through all of the three programs we offer locally (PYP, MYP and DP).
Teaching through an inquiry process helps children be prepared for their learning and life beyond primary school. Naturally we still teach knowledge and skills explicitly but we are providing children greater agency in their learning, increasing and improving their curiosity and creativity and furthering engagement. Our aim is to provide children with a voice, choice and ownership of their learning. We support children to be excellent collaborators as learning in a social context improves learning for all; the collective experience, intelligence and understanding is greater than the individual. This learning is still differentiated to meet the learning needs and styles of all.
There is an emphasis on international mindedness as one of the benefits of an IB education are the commonalities between the programmes but also within the programmes across different countries. Furthermore, it helps children understand how they can influence the world around them and how the world interacts with their world in Evatt: we will often remind children to think global but act locality to make a better world for everyone. The IB programme also helps to shape children’s identity through the ten attributes of the Learner Profile.
All of the above is to support children to take action from their learning where they reflect, choose a course of action and then act on it. This can be through participating, advocating for others, improving social justice, developing social entrepreneurship and most commonly through their lifestyle choices.
Miles Franklin is a school of choice with the majority of our students living beyond our priority enrolment area. Parents value our emphasis on academic rigour, the range of programs offered and the mutual support we give each other in building and sustaining the school community.
We look forward to welcoming you and your child/children to our great school and working with you to provide quality learning programs.
The Miles Franklin Primary School children, parents and staff